“They came like a caravan of carnival folk up through the swales of broomstraw and across the hill in the morning sun, the truck rocking and pitching in the ruts and the musicians on chairs in the truckbed teetering and turning their instruments, the fat man with guitar grinning and gesturing to others in a car behind and bending to give a note to the fiddler who turned a fiddlepeg and listened with a wrinkled face.” – Cormac McCarthy, Child of God
We get all high and mighty with our polysyllabic Latin thises and thats, and our elegance of concision, and our pretensions to taste and sophistication, and we forget that our language is built on a Germanic chassis, and have you ever read any of the German masters whose sentences go on and on and on in a flurry of dependent and independent clauses which make hash of the idea that thoughts or sensory impressions can be contained within the jail of the simple subject verb object, because by god the world is full of the taste touch smell sound sight of everything, and to that we attach all our memories and all our experiences and all our prejudices and predilections and peccadillos, and isn’t it better if we arrange them so that the like sounds align, our caravans and our carnivals, and our truckbeds and teeterings and turnings, and our fiddler turning a fiddlepeg?, and shouldn’t literature aspire not only to descriptive beauty but also to beautiful descriptive language?
Kyle Minor is the author of In the Devil’s Territory.
John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.